Charles Esten, best known as Deacon Claybourne of the Cmt series Nashville, toured in Germany earlier this year.
In January 2019, the amazing singer & actor returns to Germany.
A few say ago, we had the pleasure to make a little interview with Charles.
We talked about different projects, his time in Germany and he also answered some fan questions:
Jess: Hello Charles, thank you so much for your time, and I have to say that it’s a great honor for me to talk to you.
Charles: It’s my pleasure to speak with you! I appreciate you taking the time, I’m looking forward to coming over and this is going to help let people know. So thank you so much!
Jess: It has only been a few months since you were here in Germany on tour and we are very happy that you come back next year. What do you like about Germany and how we got so lucky, seeing you so soon again?
Charles: Well that’s all down to the people the incredible turn out and the enthusiasm of the crowd. I was blown away and my wife were with me and she was blown away as well.
We are all the way over here in Nashville and I was a part of this group that made this little show over here in Nashville and we was over here in the sound stages creating these little scenes and songs and then they go out into the world and its hard to know what effect they’re going to have.
I perhaps underestimated the effect in Germany and the wonderful German people and when we arrived over there and we saw these venues packed with people standing shoulder-to-shoulder and not only that. It was the personality of these crowds it was really really wonderful. They were a fantastic audience in a couple of ways. One of which was, they were the type of audience that listen very closely and intimately when you played a quite song and then when you played something with more energy they were making noise they were very very loud; and the final thing that was a joy for me what to see them singing along for not only the Nashville song but for many of my songs.
Jess: We could see you in Cologne and of course we were thrilled. You had the wonderful girls from Roads and Shoes from Germany as your supporting act and you even performed songs together with them. The next year they will support you again, which makes us very happy. Why did you re-choose Roads and Shoes?
Charles: So you were there too ?! Oh yes that was cologne that went real well.
That’s going to happen again, they were so wonderful. I asked them to join me on the German dates and the Amsterdam dates as well. I was not familiar with them, we have never met. I had heard about them, I listen to a little bit of music online and knew how wonderful they were so I asked them to come along and by the time we met it was like they were so wonderful it wasn’t just enough to have them open for me! I had to have them come out and sing a few with me and they were just fantastic!
Jess: Oh yes, they were amazing! And of course you were amazing!Especially the fact that you are all alone, that without a band, impressed me personally. I think it’s very difficult isn’t it? why do you give up on a band?
Charles: Oh, thank you very much! There are a number of reasons.
I have done both and I love doing both. I originally for a little while there doing a show in the local theater here, it’s called -Deacon at the Franklin- it’s called the Franklin Theatre.
I was playing lot of Deacon’s songs and all I had with me was Colin Lindon who plays the guitar parts for deacon.
He’s the one on the show that plays the guitar he would teach me the guitar parts and I would learn them and and he would help me through that. He was not able to join me in Germany so I had a decision to make. I could have brought in another guitarist perhaps or band but I must admit I was extremely influenced by one of my heroes not long ago, it was last year.
I went and saw Bruce Springsteen on stage in New York City on Broadway and I’ve been a fan of him forever and nobody has a better band then the E Street Band but there’s something about him standing there alone either at the guitar or piano that really moved me! Sort of a Simplicity to it there’s a direct connection with the audience there’s certainly is a challenge there’s no hiding behind the band the music is only as good as I play it.
I was going to try that for those 3 days. I certainly have every intention of doing it different in the future, maybe next time I come there will be a band or guitar player but I felt there was something to be explored and like you said it was really good to bring –Roads and Shoes– up. In England I have another group „The Adelaides“. They are my support group there and they will come up on stage too.
A lot of the song works for deacon him sitting by himself at The Bluebird and playing the songs like that and for Chip. It’s a real challenge for me to have that one on one connection with the audience just standing there making it happen but now this tour I’m going to do that again. I’m looking forward to that connection.
Jess: In July 2016, you started your -very single-friday project. So you have released 54 singles in 54 weeks and have made an entry in the Guinness Book of Records with it. What inspired you to do this?
Charles: I was looking for a way to release my music. I was here in Nashville, the Music City surrounded by writers and musicians. I knew I had a lot of songs to release and I was wondering what the album would look like.
The EP, whenever I came down to a group of songs, I didn’t feel it represented my music well enough. It was missing a few and maybe I wasn’t done writing them. It came down to the facts of a couple of things, its 2018, if I didn’t have a coherent concept for a album I didn’t want to force one instead I was feeling the creativity. And I thought I just want to keep releasing singles.
So when I promise to do that, if someone asked me how many I thought I would release, I would say 20 or 22. That would be my guess, but I just kept being inspired. In some sense it was a deadline machine. It keeps you on Deadline, it keeps you working and creating and before I knew what happened, that were 54 songs.
And then before I knew what happened, the people at Guinness book told me, that was a record!
I was blown away by that. As a kid I was always weak in the Guinness book. Always think it how could I get into it, just like how many times we had to chew piece of bubblegum, how many times on a pogo stick…
Little did I know it would be a labor of love something I cared about, without even thinking about the record.
Jess: It can be said that you first was known as an great actor but now more with making music. What is the greater passion and what are your plans for the future?
Charles: I started off in music long time ago when I was in college. Music has always been a part of my life even on screen. Perhaps you see me on the improv show Who’s Line Is It Anyway, where I would improvise songs on that improvisational comedy show.
Early in my career I played Buddy Holly in London, so music was always a part of it. Even when I wasn’t on screen I was always at home writing creating but obviously the acting took over for many, many years.
By all the shows I’ve done in the last 20 years, Nashville made me whole again!
Nashville stopped that split between the two from here. On out God willing I will do both and that’s really a joy to me.
What I love the most is trying to say something true that moves people. Whether it’s a scene in something with truth that moves you or a song with true that moves you to come and denominator is people are feeling something.
I would much rather be in a scene thats authentic, that made someone feel something then to sing a song that doesn’t. I would rather sing a song that made someone feel something then to be in a scene that doesn’t! So the job here on out is to make the music and the acting meaningful and moving.
Jess: Charles, we have launched a project on our social media channels where your fans can ask questions. So here we go.
Charles: Oh wow, that’s great, let’s do this.
Flavia from Italy and Doerthe from Germany got the same question:
Do you have something in common with Deacon?
Charles: Yes there’s a expression there but for the grace of God go I, there are more things in common than not.
His heart for his family and his friends, his desire to be a better man everyday, to become a better person to his friends and family can rely on it. Desire to make great music, he’s a better guitar player than I am, I’m maybe a better singer that he is (laughing) those are the main things.
Jill from Germany wants to know:
Wich was the first song ever you performed on a stage and do you remember how you felt after this?
Charles: I’m going to say the first song I ever sang on stage… I’m going to go all the way back to high school. There was a talent show, I played acoustic guitar and my friend sang with me and we sang the Everly Brothers song “All you have to do is dream“.
When I think about it know I remind there’s also no band. Just me a guitar and my friend my voice. And his voice something felt very very powerful about that both. And learning the power of a great song, and the Simplicity of great Harmony, and standing in front of a mic delivering, and the reaction I got… I was hooked! I went off to college and immediately got into a band, music has been apart every since.
Gina Francesca is askin‘:
What was the biggest inspiration for playing the role of Decaon Claybourne?
Charles: First I have to give credit to our creator Callie Khouri.
She’s a brilliant writer, she wrote Thelma & Louise the movieand she won an Oscar for that.
And her character the first time I read it I was inspired by it including the name! This man, that had that singular love for so so long and since he can be the man he needed to be for so long to be with Rayna the way he wanted to be with Rayna. He kept his distance but he played guitar for her and he suffer through the pain of not being with her. In that sense just to be near her that was heartbreaking in the fact that he wanted to continue to get better and earn her love was inspiring! The writing inspired me for much of it.
And the music definitely inspired me! The thing about country music it’s the songs are just stories, love stories of pain and regret of Hope. In my mind Deacon didn’t just sing love songs, he was the love song! He was written by someone and I did my best to play that love song that was Deacon for 6 years.
Manuela from Germany wants to know;
You started as Buddy Holly in London. Is there any chance to see you on a musical stage again?
Charles: If I have learned anything from Nashville it is, that anything is possible. If you had told me 10 years ago just you and a guitar and a piano and five shows in Germany, six shows in England, I would say no there’s no chance. But with all the doors that has been open, we consider for this possible do I think that’s possible!
Absolutely is possible is it a character that moves people is the character meaningful and truthful that connection of doing theater in playing that role, getting to sing, play music on stage. That is a sweet spot. A plane the two especially if you get to do it live on a stage.
I would love to do that whether it would ever happen I have no idea but I’m not going to say it won’t.
Nancy has sendet a vey nice question via Instagram:
Chip has a bunch of songs that he plays at his concerts that he has never released to an album or to iTunes, Spotify etc. Is he considering at some point to release those songs maybe as singles or as an album?
Charles: Well, some of them yes! I won’t say which ones because I’m not exactly sure which ones but there are some songs that I have written and love sense every single Friday and there’s some that I had doing every single Friday that I didn’t feel like releasing then.
I’m holding out for the future so in general absolutely but in specific I don’t know which one those are at least.
Another question via Instagram was send by Holly. She wrote:
I’m very interested in artists song writing processes since they are all different with their creativity. So, what is your individual songwriting process and your songwriting process?
Charles: In as many ways as there are two right there are methods you definitely have to be flexible and move with the people you’re writing with. The situation you’re in. I’ve written songs with friends on their tour bus on their way to a show, I’ve written songs by myself on my back porch, I’ve written songs in the Publishing House downtown in Nashville on Music Row, there are many ways to do that. People like to know is it the music that come first or the words but even that is not a constant. For me it’s hard to say but the one thing I will say that’s a constant or fairly constant I don’t let any ideas go if you get a good idea write it down type it into your phone write it on a piece of paper stick it into your memo app on your phone if you get a good musical idea if I get an idea I will always stop and singing into the phone or I will stop and get the guitar real quick and then you left with these bits these scraps on your phone. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with a quilting bee? People get together and make a quilt so if you go to a quilting bee you better bring some things some pieces of scrap some pieces that you’re going to assemble into something beautiful this is like that.
I’m always trying to keep my head in my ears open to something small something that moves me if I don’t have the ability right then and there then I still have the little pieces that little diamond or Jewel that hopefully will turn into something larger and even better it’s really hard to say but that is the constant thread. It’s the doing, the doing in the doing. You can’t let perfect be the enemy of the good. You don’t write as often as you should because you don’t feel inspired at that moment.
I used to be that. I understand that thought process as opposed to the great great writers of the past and the present they don’t wait for that inspiration that Muse they sit down and grind it out they work hard on a craft in their skill to create something on the days they’re not feeling it as well they would tell you that some of the songs they wrote where the best songs even on days they thought they wasn’t feeling it to write all the time
Susann from Germany wants to know:
You posted a glass of whiskey every day last month. What’s it all about?
That is nothing more than a friend of mine, I have a bunch of friends at a part of something called bourbon heritage Month.
While Deacon is not allowed to drink because he’s an alcoholic, I’m not an alcoholic, but if I do go out and have a drink it is almost always bourbon! I do like beer !
So it was 30 days of bourbon everyday. You have a different one and tell what kind you’re drinking and take a picture of the bottle. It sounded interesting even though I like to have a drink like this I wasn’t knowledgeable about the different types there’s 30 days to get knowledgeable.
It was a lot of fun including the photography shooting pictures of the bottle and I also tried to get creative about that it was a fun month. I was so happy when it was over no bourbon today.
Jess: Oh, I think you will get a lot of Bourbon now from your fans, when you’re coming over here 🙂
Charles: Oh no, they don’t need to do that ( laughing out loud)
Jess: So, we have on last question. It’s about the Charles Esten’s TEAM ADDIE Light The Night Walk Team! Would you tell us a bit about that and how we’re able to support this in Germany?
Charles: For the last five years I have been the honorary spokesperson for Light the Night, it’s a campaign that raises money.
My wife and I have 3 kids, the youngest when she was born but diagnosed with leukemia her name is Addie, she is now 18! She’s happy!!! She’s almost 19, happy, healthy soccer player (German Football), she had two years of chemotherapy and time in the hospital.
I knew when Addie was diagnosed survival was at 85%. That was already better than when I was a kid when I was a kid it was an automatic death sentence.
I knew that in those years work at been done funds have been raised to make it 85% surviving but that 15% seems huge to my wife and I. It was terrified…. We feel so blessed that our daughter was given a second chance to live, we are able to keep, to still have her and I live and for her to be able to live her life.
And all the people that raised fund did all the did research it is our mission to give back as much as possible.
I’m the national honorary spokesman for the Light the night campaign. Light the night have many many walks! I think it’s nationally. People get together with Lantern and walk for the battle against blood cancers leukemia and Lymphoma. Our daughter carries a white Lantern, if you carry a red lantern you are in support and if you carry gold Lantern it is in memory of someone who lost their battle with blood cancer. We have done our best to raise as much as we can. We are over a half a million dollars raised and I won another half a million on a game show.
So where over a million dollars and that’s just the beginning.
We want to raise more and more and make blood cancer a thing of the past!
You can’t right into our passion and our cause so tell everybody in Germany.
Don’t bring a bottle of bourbon, make a donation!
The best address I can give you is
Thank you so much for including that!!!
Jess: No need to thank us, we’ll pass this around and I hope it helps to find more donaters!
Is there anything else you want to tell your fans?
Charles: I just want to say, I’m so looking forward beeing back in Germany and to play in front of the incredible german fans.
We felt so welcome last time. Let’s do it again!!!
We want to thank Charles for this great interview and we’re looking forward for some amazing shows here in Germany.
Here are all the german tour dates:
23.01.19 – Hamburg / Docks
25.01.19 – Köln / Kantine
27.01.19 – Hannover / Capitol
28.01.19 – Berlin / Heimathafen
29.01.19 – München / Muffathalle
Here you can find everything about Charles Esten and his Fundraising page: